Stories where a strong desire to succeed intersects with the self-belief to create a magical zone of genius, have always inspired me. Here is one such story that struck a chord with me.
When he was two, this adopted child of two loving parents, stopped growing. The team of doctors gave him six months to live. He was suffering from a rare disease that inhibits digestion and nutrient absorption. Intravenous feeding of vitamins and supplements helped him gain strength, but his growth was permanently stunted.
While he was confined to the hospital, he quietly planned his response to kids who called him names because he looked different. Many years later, he recalled, “This whole experience, subconsciously made me want to succeed at something athletic”.
One day, with the doctor’s permission, his parents took him to an ice-skating rink. Being at any place other than a hospital was rare for him – and there he stood, a frail undergrown kid, with a feeding tube inserted through his nose, into the stomach., looking at kids whirling around in the ice. He turned to his parents and said “I’d like to try ice-skating”. The parents looked nervously at their life-threatened child, but they allowed him to try it nonetheless.
He tried ice skating, loved it, and pursued it passionately. It was fun and something he felt he could excel at because height and weight were not a constraint to succeed at it.
During his medical checkup the following year, the doctors were pleasantly surprised to discover that he had started growing again. It was too late for him to reach normal size but at this point, neither he nor his parents cared about it.
By the way, no one teases him today – in fact, they rush to get his autograph. Over the years, his dazzling performances during ice-skating tours, have left fans spellbound. Although he has retired from professional sports, he remains a coach, mentor, and commentator and is revered in winter sports.
At 5 feet 3 inches, Scott Hamilton, former Olympics gold medalist and ice figure skating champion stand tall as a winner.